Cherokee County GA schools reopen in midst of Covid-19 anxiety

School buses make their way to Teasley Middle School on first day of fall semester Monday.

On the second day of in-person classes, Cherokee County schools officials said Tuesday that an elementary school class will have to quarantine because a student tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

School system spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby told the Tribune that a second grader at Sixes Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19. The classroom that student was in was closed and is being disinfected. The teacher and 20 other students will now switch to digital learning for two weeks. All parents of Sixes students were notified in writing by Princial Ashley Kennerly.

“This is the first COVID-19 positive case reported among our students and staff since we reopened schools on Monday morning,” Jacoby said. “Contact tracing was conducted, and all affected students’ parents have been notified.”

The student showed no symptoms at school Monday, Jacoby said. When the student began to show symptoms after school, the family sought medical attention and a test was given showing a positive result for COVID-19.

Cherokee County’s coronavirus protocol allows for quarantines and closures that range in size from individual classrooms to the entire school system. Last March the entire system switched to distance learning for the remainder of the school year.

More than 30,000 students returned the system’s campuses for the start of the 2020-21 school year on Monday. Families were given the option of online learning for their children given the ongoing pandemic and about a quarter of students are enrolled in remote learning.

According to the school system nine employees have tested positive for coronavirus infection, while the second grader at Sixes Elementary is the first student case.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there had been 2,976 coronavirus infections in Cherokee County, including 733 recorded in the past two weeks. A total of 57 deaths in Cherokee County have been attributed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Statewide COVID-19 has caused or contributed to nearly 4,000 deaths and more than 150,000 nationwide.

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Managing Editor

Gary Tanner is managing editor of The Cherokee Tribune, Cherokee Ledger-News and Cherokee Life magazine. He has been working as a journalist since 1985.

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Jimmy Nomayo

Why is social distancing such a difficult concept for so many people to understand? No schools anywhere in the nation should be opening for classroom instruction. The risk to students, and especially their older family members is not worth the danger. Virtual instruction should be mandatory. The pandemic is not going to be controlled until people wear masks, distance, and respect one another's health risks. School is not daycare either; because parents must work is no reason to cram kids in classrooms and on buses. This is a pandemic, a once-in-a-lifetime event! Had we had leadership and obeyed the professional’s advice this could have been close to over. Absolutely stupid.

NorthGA

The powers that be figure it makes more sense to disrupt classroom settings for a few weeks, send them home, then bring them back and wait for the next positive case and send them home again. Wash, rinse, repeat. Save the millions of dollars and stop this cycle that is about to start. Insanity and a danger to all.

NorthGA

As expected. How many others are being given Tylenol to hide the fever so parents can send them to school and spread this. The sick should never have been allowed into the school. Well done by the watchful and caring! How many more have slipped in and not been tested? Parents, grandparents, siblings and the community thank the CCSD for providing this virus so many more ways into our homes. Bravo!

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